When I started working in the dental field clinicians weren’t required to wear gloves. To say things have come a long way is a major understatement. Those of us that have been in the field since the beginning have a special appreciation of the way technology has increased our ability as professionals to manage oral disease and take better care of our patients.
One thing I have learned over the years is the intricacy of patient care. If you want to truly help patients manage their oral health you must deliver top notch care in multiple areas of service, not just while they are sitting in your chair. The primary areas in which we as modern practitioners need to focus our attention are:
- Patient Relationships
- Treatment and Communication Efficiency
- Maximizing Insurance Benefits
Our proficiency in these three areas will impact our ability to treat our patients at a level of care they expect and deserve. So what advances in technology help us achieve unparalleled service? Well, there are many. On the clinical side there are CAD CAM machines, digital imaging, educational treatment videos and the like to assist with treatment communication in the chair—but these technologies don’t do much when it comes to our relationship with the patient on the front end.
How technology can improve authentic patient relationships
While fancy clinical equipment gets us excited, patients don’t care a lick unless they feel like you care about them. Yes, getting a crown in one appointment is nice, but if the patient feels like the doctor or the front desk person is not interested in them as a person, the impact of the fancy equipment is lost. On the other hand, seeing patient’s day in and day out can be taxing on the team and making each patient feel like they are the only one you see all day makes it even harder. So how are advances in technology addressing this very important problem? Software exists that can turn this problem into a business advantage that is actually satisfying to the front desk staff rather than a black hole of energy. There are a few solutions that address parts of this and other problems. The one we found to be the most focused on these issues is Weave. Helping us improve our relationships while also helping practices achieve the patient flow and financial goals they have set is apparently what they are all about.
How technology can improve treatment and communication efficiency
Our patients value their time. They want to do the things they love when not at work or taking care of their families. If we can help them have more free time, we all win. When most front office team members answer the phone it is nearly impossible to gather all the information they would like to have in front of them to be effective:
- Next appointment date
- Appointment dates and times of family members
- Treatment that has yet to be completed
- New information specific to their wellness
- If the patient has a birthday coming up
- If they have an unpaid balance
Patient communication software syncs with your office software so as soon as the phone rings all of the above information pops up on the computer screen. Can you imagine how easy and effective conversations could be with all of that information at your fingertips at the moment its needed?
Now, in real time, the team can field a call and know exactly what relevant questions to ask the patient. For me, one of the primary benefits is the ability to educate the caller about their health. If the team member can see if there are any red flags that should be addressed in their next visit—or if there is information about their condition that they need to know about immediately.
“Weaving” in medical billing (pardon the pun)
When team members have more efficient and effective conversations, time is freed up for other important things. I suggest practices that implement Weave or a software like it that accomplishes at least the six things listed above, also implement advanced billing systems in order to fully maximize their financial and patient service potential. Medical billing in the dental practice has become commonplace as people seek medically billable treatment for things like sleep apnea, oral surgery, dental implants and TMD. I personally train hundreds of team members annually to successfully bill medical insurance for procedures they are already doing. I offer workshops, one on one training as well as written resources like The Dentist’s Guide to Medical Billing, The Dentists’ Guide to Medical Billing: Implants and The Dentist’s Guide to Medical Billing: CT Scan. There is no better combination than these two technologies to see your practice make progress.
The Financial Impact of Weave and Medical Billing
To date Weave telephone services have helped offices schedule over 100 thousand patients and helped generate 20 million in revenue. On top of that, you can add the benefits of medical billing to the bottom line. Using these two types of technology your office will see growth like never before and probably without your staff needing to learn new skills.
-Christine Taxin, Adjunct Professor NYU School of Dentistry